ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the ECE Funding Handbook. This handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Funding of certain services and certified playgroups – New Zealand Legislation(external link)

The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This handbook is designed to be a 'one-stop-shop' of everything you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the ECE Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours ECE funding
  • equity funding
  • the annual top-up for isolated services.

This information does not apply to certificated playgroups

The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups.

These services should contact their Ministry regional office for more information.

Local Ministry offices

Download the ECE Funding Handbook

If you would like to print a copy of this handbook, refer to the list of downloads in the contents section where you will find downloadable PDF versions of each chapter.

ECE Funding Handbook downloads

6-3 Attendance records

A symbol.  Books.  Checklist.

  • Introduction
    • An attendance record must be kept for each child attending the early childhood education and care service.

      Attendance records must be kept for seven years.

  • Records
    • Attendance records serve a number of purposes for funding. They:

      • support claims for funded child hours (FCHs)
      • support claims for quality funding rates (for parent/whānau led services) that require enhanced staff:child ratios
      • help keep track of absences so that the absence rules can be applied and
      • help keep track of hours of attendance that can be claimed for children attending casually.

      Attendance records also ensure that licence maximums are not exceeded.

  • Incorrect records
    • Services must not state that a child has attended an early childhood service when they did not attend for any reason.

      In the event of a funding claim audit, funding claimed incorrectly will be recovered by the Ministry.

  • Changes to records
    • Changes to attendance records must not be ‘whited out’. Changes should be made by crossing out the incorrect entry and rewriting.

      This will ensure that funding claims are accepted by the Ministry in the event of a funding claim audit.

      Services that keep only electronic records for recording attendance must use a software package or other electronic means of recording attendance that has provision for noting and referencing any changes in a manner that is transparent for staff, parents and the Ministry.

  • Records must include
    • Attendance records may be kept in a form to suit the service. However, all services must include all of the following:

      • separate sections or columns for children aged under two and for children aged two and over
      • the first and last name of each child, clearly identified
      • days and times of actual attendance for each child
      • a record of any absence, with an ‘a’ when a child does not attend at a time for which they are enrolled
      • when a child's attendance is casual or conditional
      • notes and explanations about attendance, such as when a child is away sick or has attended for more/less hours than they were enrolled AND
      • attendance registers that have been marked by staff on a twice daily basis (or once a day for services that operate only one session).

      Services must also keep evidence (e.g. a signed attendance register) that a parent/guardian of each child has regularly examined and confirmed the attendance record.

      This needs to be completed:

      Once a month for...Once a week for...
      • Sessional teacher-led centre-based services.
      • Parent/whānau-led services.
      • All-day teacher-led centre- based services.
      • Home-based education and care services.
  • Electronic Attendance Records Criteria
    • ECE Services may use electronic means of verification of attendance records to satisfy the requirements of this handbook.

      If using electronic means to verify attendance records you must meet the criteria below. How the criteria are met is up to each individual service.


      1. Authorised signatories are linked with only one electronic signature. The means of creating each individual electronic signature is linked only to its authorised signatory or any system administrators and to no other person.

      2. If usernames and passwords are used, the system must record who created them and when they were created.

      3. If usernames and passwords are used, there must be adequate controls to ensure that these are not used by anyone other than the linked authorised signatory.

      4. Only a parent or guardian who is an authorised signatory can verify attendance records electronically. A parent or guardian must only use their own electronic signature to verify attendance records.

      5. Any alteration made to any information, is evident (including who made the changes and when). This includes alterations to electronic signatures and confirmation of attendance. This also includes daily sign in and out if it is used.

      Verification of records

      6. The verification process must:

      • Clearly identify the parent or guardian who verified the record.
      • Indicate the signatory’s approval of the information to which the signature relates.
      • Log the time and date of when the record was verified.
      • This might, for example, include an item on the record which states:

      Verified by:          Wanda Maximoff

      Verification:         I confirm that the attendance details for William Kaplan 19/12/2019 – 23/12/2019 are correct.

      Date & Time:        23/12/2019 – 2:15pm

      Attendance registers

      7. For services that use daily electronic sign in and out to track attendance, the system must not default to marking children as present. This includes not defaulting to marking children’s attendance as per the time booked on their enrolment agreement.

      8. If a service uses daily electronic sign in and out then the system must record who signed the child in and out, and what day and time this happened. It is recommended that only authorised signatories sign a child in or out.

      9. Services that use daily electronic sign in and out must have a process for ensuring these records are accurate each day. For example, where a child’s parent or guardian is unable to, or fails to, sign a child in on a day they are attending then a specified staff member will sign the child in and record the circumstances of the sign in for verification by a parent or guardian.

      Retention and inspection

      10. Electronic attendance records must be retained for 7 years without any loss of integrity. 

      11. All records are readily accessible so as to be usable for subsequent inspection by Ministry staff as required.

      12. All records can be extracted into an appropriate format for reporting purposes.

  • Tip
    • Red lightbulb tip symbol.

      Daily sign-in/sign-out records are recommended as best practise.

      They are useful for:

      • recording days and times of actual attendance for each child (as described above)
      • keeping track of attendances by children who attend on a casual basis
      • keeping track of variations in attendance that might indicate a Frequent Absence (see section 6-7).
      • Meeting the attendance record requirement for “evidence that a parent/guardian of each child has regularly examined and confirmed the attendance record” for all service types.

      A template for sign-in/sign-out records is included in Appendix 2.